Penn. AG Kathleen Kane convicted of perjury, obstruction of justice

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( – A jury found embattled Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane guilty of nine criminal charges on Monday for leaking grand jury information about a political rival to a Philadelphia Daily News reporter and then lying under oath about it in a scandal that roiled the state government in Harrisburg.

Kane, the first woman and first Democrat to be elected attorney general in Pennsylvania, was convicted of two counts of felony perjury and seven misdemeanor counts of abusing her office, including obstruction of justice, for her attempt to discredit former state prosecutor Frank Fina.

Josh Morrow, Kane’s former political consultant, testified at her trial that he had “conspired” with her to illegally leak the grand jury documents about a 2009 state corruption investigation and then attempted to frame Kane’s chief deputy for the crime.

Kane faces a maximum of 28 years in jail when she is sentenced on October 24.

Judge Wendy Demchick-Alloy ordered Kane to surrender her passport andwarned her that “there is to be absolutely no retaliation of any kind against any witness in this case,” threatening Kane with immediate incarceration if she did not comply with her order.

Kane, who refused to step down as attorney general when she was indicted last year, announced Tuesday that she was resigning as required under state law.

Kane claimed she had been targeted for retaliation for exposing a corrupt “old boys network” in which judges and prosecutors allegedly passed around “one million emails” with pornographic images of women and children on state government computers.

The “Porngate” scandal resulted in the early retirements of former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justices Seamus McCaffery and Michael Eakin, as well as reprimands for dozens of state employees.

Fina, who previously prosecuted Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky for child sexual abuse, was also caught up in the scandal. He resigned from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office in June, accusing Kane of using the pornographic emails as a weapon in her “personal and political vendetta” against him, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Judge Demchick-Alloy refused to allow Kane to use the emails as evidence at her trial, although her attorney, Gerald Shargel, did not call any witnesses in her defense.

Shargel, who called the verdict “a crushing blow,” said he would appeal the judge’s decision to exclude the emails.

“We have been denied the opportunity to mount a full defense,” he told reporters.

— Written by Barbara Hollingsworth